The Navy’s decision to build at least nine more DDG 51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and end the new DDG 1000 Zumwalt class at two ships has drawn hearty applause from some corners. But supporters at the Pentagon and in Congress are insisting the issue is far from over.
The Navy’s leadership signed off on the plan July 22, when Navy Secretary Donald Winter and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead met with Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England and Pentagon acquisition chief John Young. England approved the Navy’s desire to “truncate” the seven-ship Zumwalt class to two ships and build more Burkes, a line that was to end at 62 ships.
While sources say Defense Secretary Robert Gates has approved the plan, Young did not seem ready to concede the issue. He was the Navy’s acquisition chief earlier in the Bush administration — a time when England was Navy secretary — and fought hard for the Zumwalts. Young issued a statement July 25 indicating the DDG 1000 question remains under consideration.